If you’re lucky…really, really lucky, you get to live in the same time as an Original. They don’t have to proclaim it themselves and nobody has to tell you they are. You just know it.
David Bowie was an Original. One of that rare breed who can get away with just the surname. Bowie. Nuff said. There were some like him before and there will be some like him after, but nobody was Bowie but Bowie.
There have been many guitarists but only one Hendrix or buried alive in the blues singers like Joplin or visionaries like Lennon. They are artists in every sense of the word and David Bowie was an artist. Never will forget when he appeared on Soul Train, probably coked to the gills lip synching “Fame” which was huge on Black radio. It was singing backup to Bowie on the Young Americans tour a future soul star named Luther Vandross would first appear on the scene.
Bowie was so White he was clear and he never claimed to anything as obnoxious as a “blue-eyed soul singer. ” However, many of his bands were interracial and his passion for R&B and soul was without doubt gliding through musical genres like a chameleon over wet leaves.
His last album, Blackstar became his first Number One album, knocking the mighty Adele from her perch. This would not have happened had Bowie not pulled the greatest sales promotion tactic ever: dying unexpectedly and shocking the world. To his last Bowie never stopped coming up with ways to amaze us.
There’s something incredibly bad-ass about dropping a new album on your birthday and then as the accolades begin rolling in, check out at home with your family around you. It’s both making the definitive artistic statement and maintaining your reputation for being unpredictable and playing by your own rules. Even in death.
All things considered, if you gotta go, go out your own way and Bowie went out the way he came in. With style and cool to spare.
Ziggy Stardust. Rebel, Rebel. Major Tom. The Thin White Duke. Heathen. Actor. Musician. Madman. Genius. Icon. Ashes to Ashes.
requiescat in pace. Ch-ch-changes. Turn and face the strange. We are the Goon Squad and we’re coming to town. Beep-beep!